CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

July 22, 2002

4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING

Conference Room 241, 243 South Allen Street

 

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:

John Spychalski, Chairman

Donald Sherman, Vice Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Joseph Davidson

Gary Powers

 

OTHERS PRESENT:

Hugh Mose, General Manager

Joseph Gilbert, Director of Transportation

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

L. Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development

Diane Heichel, Executive Assistant

Richard McCarl, Borough Liaison

 

 

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:01 p.m.

 

 

II. PUBLIC COMMENT

Chairman Spychalski called for comments or input from the general public.

 

The Chair recognized Mr. Robert Beck, President, AFSCME Local 1203-B. Mr. Beck informed the Board that some of the Operations Staff have been putting in extraordinarily long hours to implement the service changes the Board has approved. He feels they have gone beyond what should be expected of them under very difficult conditions and should be commended for their efforts.

 

The Chair recognized Mr. David Hollabaugh. Mr. Hollabaugh stated that in the past 13 years that heís been affiliated with CATA, he has never seen the bus system as screwed up as it is now. He reviewed some of what he feels were bad ideas, which include using regular routes to supplement the LOOPs, explaining how this causes problems for the riders trying to use the regular Centre Line buses. If a Centre Line bus is full of riders going a block or two on campus, the rider trying to get home after work is left behind.

 

The Chair recognized Ms. Debbie Cleeton, a long time CATA patron. Ms. Cleeton stated that the scheduled times for the M and X Routes to meet at the Nittany Mall are not working. If the X Bus does not wait for the M Route which may be running a little late, then those riders on the M Route will have missed the X bus back to Bellefonte. In some cases this means a few hours wait, but at night it could mean that there is no other way home. The drivers need to wait for the other bus to make sure there are no transfers.

 

The Chair again recognized Mr. Hollabaugh. Mr. Hollabaugh noted that the drivers hear a great deal about the increase in ridership on the LOOPs, but these people are jumping on the bus for one stop simply because itís free. He recommended that the LOOPs start charging again. When itís free the riders abuse it by riding it for only 50 feet and continue to cram into an already overloaded bus.

 

Mr. Hollabaugh also noted that some of the new run times are too tight and although the Operations staff is working long hours to reschedule these routes, these should not have been scheduled this way in the first place.

Ms. Cleeton noted that the drivers are all pretty much stressed out and she doesnít know how they manage on the N/R/V route, adding that it is much too confusing for the public to understand.

 

 

III. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of June 3, 2002 Board Meeting

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board approve the minutes of the June 3, 2002 Board meeting as presented. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Receipt of the May 2002 Finance Reports

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board receive the May 2002 Finance Reports. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

 

Ms. Minor noted that the June deficit numbers should be higher than May, but she will not have the final numbers until the audit is completed in September.

 

Mr. Mose noted that ridership on the paratransit summary has been on a continued upward trend. Mr. Mose also called the Boardís attention to a revised May ridership summary to replace the one originally included in the Board packets. He added that the June ridership summary shows that ridership is up slightly. Although the Centre Line ridership is actually down, the Summer LOOP is carrying about 50% more riders than last year.

 

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose noted that the increase in the LOOP ridership is due to a summer program in which new students and their parents spend a day at the University. Mr. Mose also noted that for the LOOP to make the complete circuit in 24 minutes is very challenging for the drivers.

 

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

C. Operations/Administration Area Expansion Update

Mr. Mose and Mr. Gilbert reported that work on the facility expansion is proceeding at a brisk pace. The project is essentially back on schedule, meaning that the new area should be substantially complete by the second week of August.

 

Mr. Gilbert noted that the offices have some of the floor tile, windows and doors being installed, and the new air conditioning unit has been installed and seems to be working well.

 

Mr. Mose added that Mr. Gilbert has not only been working in his regular capacity as Director of Transportation, but has also been extremely busy coordinating the expansion project. The current situation is more than inconvenient and everyone has been working under adverse conditions. Mr. Mose invited the Board to stop in and see the new addition.

 

Chairman Spychalski commended the staff on working under these conditions and maintaining service.

 

Mr. McCarl noted that some of the new air conditioning units in the area have a high pitched noise and a new ordinance was recently passed to mandate ways to lessen the noise. Mr. Gilbert assured the Board that the new unit at the CATA facility is very quiet.

 

No Board action was required.

 

 

 

D. Service Planning Update

Mr. Mose, referring to the memo included in the Board packets, noted that now that the service changes have been in effect several weeks, we can see that there are running time problems in three areas: the combined N/V/R Route, the revised M Route, and the expanded P Route. Mr. Mose described the situation and outlined the changes staff is planning to make effective with the start of the Fall Semester.

 

On the N/V/R Route, although the concept was good, the running time is just barely adequate in low traffic times and will never work during heavy traffic times when the students return. Adjustments will have to be made in order to have the buses run on time. Mr. Mose reviewed the adjustments and how these affect the headways.

 

The M Route has also been having a problem with the new routing and staying on schedule, which makes it miss transfers to the X Route at the Nittany Mall. Mr. Mose noted that interlining the M with the LINK may lessen the time run on Campus, adding that as soon as I-99 opens the traffic congestion on East College Avenue will lessen considerably.

 

Mr. Mose also reviewed the P Route and the problems it has staying on schedule, and how staff has reconfigured the shorter interim trip to help with the running times. However, he also added that presently the closure of Curtin Road causes delays, but even when the road is opened again, it will still be very tight.

 

Although the Summer LOOP is also a problem area for drivers, it is so close to the end of the summer that no changes will be made.

 

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose noted that the changes will be implemented with the beginning of Full Service in August. Mr. Mose also noted his response to Mr. Hollabaughís question on why the problems with the running times were not seen before the routes were put into place. Mr. Mose stated that these routes were run for timing and staff did the best job possible putting it all together.

 

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose noted that there are many factors that create problems in the running times such as boarding and deboarding wheelchair patrons. Mr. Beck noted that bikes being loaded or unloaded do not cause any problems. Mr. Beck also noted that the New Flyers are easier to load wheelchairs than the Orions.

 

Chairman Spychalski stated that the Board is aware that this is not a perfect solution, but with the limited funds, it is the best the Authority can do.

 

No Board action was required.

 

 

IV. NEW BUSINESS

A. Football Shuttle Fares

Mr. Mose noted that over the past month the staff has been evaluating possible fares for this yearís Penn State Football Game Day Shuttle. Referring to the memo included in the Board packets, Mr. Mose outlined the options that staff has been looking at. After considerable discussion the staff concluded that the best combination of consistency, ease of use and revenue yield would be to increase the fare from $1.00 to $1.50 per one-way trip, and add a season pass, which would sell for $20.00.

 

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board adopt a base fare of $1.50 for the Football Shuttle, plus add a new Football Shuttle season pass to be sold at $20.00. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

 

 

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Gilbert confirmed that the GenFare system does not differentiate between a one dollar bill and a five dollar bill. Ms. Minor pointed out that itís common for larger bills to be collected on the football shuttle. Mr. Davidson asked if there would be a reason to upgrade the system to recognize the different bills. Mr. Gilbert pointed out that the drivers do have a multiple fare key to count larger groups of people and this normally takes care of that problem.

 

In response to Mr. McCarl, Mr. Bernier noted that it would be possible to run a shuttle from the other end of North Atherton, if the funds, drivers, and buses were available. One of the items needed is a free parking lot for the riders to use. Mr. Bernier also noted that heís suggested to the motel/hotel managers that they seek a partnership with someone who has available parking.

 

Mr. McCarl also noted that one of the problem areas is the lines waiting to board the buses after the game. Mr. Mose reviewed the problem and some of the things staff has discussed to try to solve it.

 

Mr. Kipp stated that he has always hoped that the football shuttles would add to the number of regular riders, however he does not feel that that is the case. Therefore, he does not feel that a great deal of energy should be put into this service. Mr. Bernier pointed out that this service offers benefit aside from gaining regular riders; it adds a positive perception of the community toward CATA.

 

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Proposal for DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) Goals for FY 2002/03

Ms. Minor reported that as a recipient of federal transit funds, the Authority must annually calculate and determine goals for expenditures of federal funds with disadvantaged business enterprises. These goals must be advertised, and comments solicited, for at least 60 days prior to the October 1st start of the new federal fiscal year, when they will be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for approval.

 

For FY 2002/03, staff is recommending a goal of 5%, the same as in the past two years, based on its evaluation of the number of DBE firms in the area and actual expenditures since FY 1999/00. Once adopted by the Board, the goal will be advertised as required and then submitted to the FTA.

 

In response to Mr. Powers, Ms. Minor outlined the criteria to be designated as a DBE company.

 

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt a DBE goal of 5% for federal fiscal year 2002/03. Mr. Powers seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

C. Marketing Plan

Mr. Mose noted he had expected Ms. Jacqueline Sheader, CATAís Marketing Coordinator, to be present to review the Marketing Plan, however she is out sick today. Mr. Mose suggested having Ms. Sheader attend a future meeting to present the Marketing Plan.

 

No formal Board action was requested.

 

D. Summer Meeting Schedule

Mr. Mose noted that in looking ahead to August, the staff is of the opinion that there will be no items of business absolutely requiring a Board meeting, which suggests that the August 26 meeting be cancelled. However, the following month the Board is scheduled to meet on September 23, which falls during the APTA Annual Meeting, which he hopes to attend. While his presence is certainly not required for the Board to meet, if the Board prefer to have him in attendance, it may be a better idea to consider one of the following approaches:

The Board could go ahead and meet in August to deal with any items that come up between now and then, as well as anything that might otherwise have been scheduled for September but can be moved ahead. Alternatively, the Board could cancel both regular monthly meetings and set a special meeting somewhere in between, similar to the pattern followed in May/June, when CATA held the "May" meeting on June 3, then cancelled the regular June meeting. Of course, the Board could simply cancel both meetings, and schedule a special meeting if anything requiring the Boardís attention arises over the next sixty days.

 

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board cancel both the August and September regular meetings and set a special Board meeting for Monday, September 9. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

 

V. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager's Report

Mr. Mose reported on the following items:

 

Natural gas futures contracts have been purchased for one month when the prices were close to the budget amount. Ms. Minor continues to watch the prices and will be purchasing as the prices come down.

 

The three new paratransit vehicles are now in service.

 

Mr. Gilbert reported that the problems with the wiring between the two dispensers are being worked out. Mr. Mose noted that, as was learned recently during a power outage, only one compresser can be used on the auxiliary back-up power.

 

 

B. Service Development Report

Mr. Bernier reported on the following items:

 

Most of his time has been spent on changes to the public information systems, such as the website, bus stop information signs, the Ride Guide, and individual schedule brochures.

 

In response to Mr. McCarl, Mr. Bernier reported that the ridership for the Arts Festival shuttle seems to correspond to the attendance at the festival itself.

 

Chairman Spychalski stated that he was pleased to see the update of the signage on campus. Mr. Bernier noted that it is still an issue with PSU to have CATA people change the information signs, rather than having PSU responsible for changing CATA signs.

 

VI. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Kipp moved to adjourn. Mr. Sherman seconded that motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski adjourned to an Executive Session at 5:17 p.m. to discuss personnel matters.

 

 

VII. EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Executive Session was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.